A Hebrew and English lexicon of the Old Testament by Gesenius, Wilhelm

By Gesenius, Wilhelm

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The mashal, it will be claimed, provides as well an ideological model through which hypothesis formation in midrashic reading is both generated and constrained. Such ideological models are themselves intertextual in that they represent in concrete form the anonymous codes of a given cultural practice. In the second of these chapters, an extended reading of a single mashal will be presented. In the analysis of this text, I will claim that another aspect of intertextuality is revealed by the midrash, that is, the intertextuality of the Bible vis-à-vis its earlier Hebrew cultural practice and in particular the mythology of ancient Israel.

Indeed, I would argue that all of the generic patterns of midrash have this function of exposing and creating intertextual hermeneutic relations between different biblical texts. One of the most dramatic forms of paradigmatic intertextual dialogue is the realization of meanings through the confrontation of texts: Rabbi Shim'on ben Gamliel says, Come and see how beloved is Israel before Him-Who-Spoke-and-theWorld-Was, for as they are beloved, He reversed the act of creation. He made the low into the high and the high into the low.

Eliezer said to him, Akiva, what is different about today? He said, It seems that your colleagues are estranging themselves from you. He then also rent his garment, and sat on the earth, and his eyes poured forth tears. 41 Our story is the story of a community in which interpretation was the central, definitive act of religion and therefore of culture. Misinterpretation (from the perspective of that culture's practice) was perhaps analogous to the violation of ritual and taboo in other cultures and led therefore to the removal of the misinterpreter from the society.

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